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ANPA National Show 2024 Avian Influenza Update June 5

Thanks to Dr Colin Walker for this update. Avian Influenza has been diagnosed at three locations in western Victoria recently. It is only natural that ANPA members are concerned about the potential impact of this on the ANPA show in Geelong in July.


Avian Influenza (AI )  is caused by a virus that primarily causes a respiratory infection in birds. The virus “likes” salt water and is typically associated with coastal and sea birds. The virus  is thought to enter Australia with these birds as they migrate south from South East Asia along Australia coasts.

Different species of birds vary in their susceptibility to the virus. Commercial poultry are very susceptible. Infected birds shed the virus in their saliva , tears and droppings. Sometimes the virus is transmitted or “spills over” from wild birds into domestic poultry.

When this happens in Australia the disease is eradicated by isolating the outbreak in restricted exclusion zones. In an inner zone some birds are killed while in a wider surrounding outer zone bird movement is restricted and the disease is monitored through testing.

Domestic pigeons are relatively resistant to AI . They are hard to infect and when they do become  infected show mild signs. They clear the virus quickly from their system. The persistent carrier state does not occur.

Pigeons are regarded as a “dead end” host of the virus because the virus does not build up in them to infective levels . This means that the virus cannot be passed by them on to further birds.

In previous outbreaks, fanciers within exclusion zones have been required to confine their birds to their lofts. Confined domestic pigeons have not been killed. At the same time racing organisations have not been allowed to release birds where the anticipated line of flight is over a restricted protective zone.

The current outbreak of AI only has the potential to disrupt this year’s ANPA show at Geelong if the disease is diagnosed near the show facility, so that the venue was included within a restricted zone.

NOTE: For regular updates visit the Agriculture Victoria website

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